By Lupita Peimbert.
(Travel) – I took a car one morning and drove up to the Rocky Mountains, about 57 miles from Denver, Colorado. It was ambitious of me to think I would go up and down in the same day, but as in my adaptation of the old saying “You don’t know what you don’t know, until you do it,” I had to discover that on my own.
I drove on Interstate 270 West to US-36, first arriving to Boulder, a quaint college town known for its outdoors activities. Boulder was founded in 1859 by explorers in search of gold, sits at 5,430 feet of altitude where the plains meet the Rocky Mountains, and offers thousands of miles of hiking trails. After stopping at the first Starbucks I found, I also took a stroll on Pearl Street, people watching while mentally mapping where I was going.
See, it is good to bring a map with you, but one must not spend too much time knowing exactly where one is going. One must explore –while daylight is on. Exploring and finding is part of the thrill for some of us.
After Boulder, the US-36 took me directly to Estes Park, one of the main destinations part of the Rocky Mountains. The Visitor Center is a required stop for any savvy traveler, as the friendly and knowledgeable volunteers redirect you to specific spots up within the Rocky Mountains National Park, founded in 1915.
It costs $20 to enter the park, and once inside, you are on your own, free like the elk, bighorn sheep, mule deer, and other wildlife.
I brought with me plenty of fruit, water, and other snacks enough to help me have a nice picnic somewhere along the way. Because you are going up several thousands feet of altitude, you don’t really find open spaces for picnics –at least I didn’t, but rather plenty of vista points designed to show you mesmerizing views.
As I got to see several kinds of conifers, deciduous trees and shrubs, I once again realized in amazement the beauty of our planet Earth and the marvelous spots of nature within the United States of America.
By then it was past 6 p.m. on a bright Summer day. It was time to head back down, driving for a couple of hours to Denver. Indeed it was one day trip with too many miles driven for a day. For a moment I wished I had rented a cabin and had time for a long hike, one of those that lasts several hours and where you get lost in nature.
Next morning back in Denver, I woke up feeling more alert. A feeling of wellness all over my body and mind. I know it very well; being exposed to nature is good for a human being, and going alone may actually make you internalize that wellness even more.
It was interesting for me to see a majority of visitors in groups or couples. I was probably one of the very few visiting alone. But as I know and have experienced, when I am in nature I am not alone, I am surrounded by trees and plants and animals, and other living beings, all connected. Besides, the continuing wanderings of my mind and subsequent conversations with myself keep me entertained. Pack yourself with the “I am happy alone,” snacks and water, and happy you’ll be! ;-)!
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